Komoro Distillery under construction

Komoro Distillery under construction

Karuizawa Distillers’ new distillery is located in the shadow of active volcano, Mount Asama

News | 06 Mar 2022

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Karuizawa Distillers (KDI) has now completed phase one of the ground works for its first distillery, Komoro, and is about to enter the construction phase.
Komoro site in autumn

The Komoro Distillery site is the culmination of a five-year search for the perfect place to build a whisky distillery by Karuizawa Distillers’ co-founders. Most distilleries around the world are located on level, flat land; regardless, a hilly site near Mount Asama was chosen for its water access and maturation conditions.
Site model with distillery

Designed by architects Akira and Mami Sogo, the planned distillery is a floor-to-ceiling glass structure: visitors will be able to view the Forsyths stills, framed by the beautiful natural environment, from anywhere in the distillery.
Chang and Shimaoka

KDI Founder and CEO, Koji Shimaoka, commented, “This is literally a dream come true for me, after five years of searching for the perfect site and a whisky-maker worthy of the place. This first distillery is also hugely significant to the whole Komoro/Karuizawa region, in terms of local revitalisation – offering not just employment at the Komoro Distillery, but also whisky tourism as we build a truly global brand. I could not be any prouder of the team or more positive about the distillery itself, which is now finally beginning to take shape.”
Front view of the distillery

Co-founder and master blender, Ian Chang, added, “I am so grateful to our architects, Akira and Mami Sogo, who have designed such a modern and innovative, purpose-built distillery. A design which will integrate our team (the people), the nature (the place) and the whisky (the liquid) all together in perfect harmony. This not only applies to the production side, but most importantly to the maturation of our highly anticipated spirit!”
West elevation

The building phase of Komoro Distillery, supported by robust investment, is on track, and will commence production in spring 2023. Located on a hilltop overlooking Komoro City, the site is situated just seven miles from the old Karuizawa Distillery site in Miyota Town and will produce limited amounts of Japanese single malt whisky. The project is one of the largest on-going distillery projects in Japan.
Forest near the site

Read our previous coverage of the project here and in Whisky Magazine Issue 179.
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